Can People Who Abuse Children Be Treated?
Studies show that treatment for people who sexually abuse children can reduce the likelihood that they will reoffend.
Statistically, people who are held accountable for sexual abuse have a lower recidivism rate than people convicted of other major offenses. Even without treatment, recidivism rates for those convicted of sexually abusing a child are estimated to be about 15-20%. With treatment, many studies show an additional reduction in recidivism by as much as a third, to as low as 12%.
(Hanson, R.K., Gordon, A., Harris, A. J. R., Marques, J.K., Murphy, W., Quinsey, V.L., & Seto, M. C. (2002). First report of the Collaborative Outcome Data Project on the effectiveness of psychological treatment for sexual offenders. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 14 (2), 169-194).
Experts agree that with successful completion of specialized treatment, people who sexually abuse children can learn how to control their actions and become part of the solution of keeping children safe.